Governor Murphy Nominates Matt Platkin as Attorney General

February 3, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Governor Phil Murphy today nominated Matt Platkin to be the Attorney General of New Jersey. Platkin served as Chief Counsel to the Governor from January 2018 to October 2020. His nomination will now go to the Senate for confirmation. Platkin will assume the role of Acting Attorney General on Monday, February 14, 2022.

“It is my honor and pleasure to nominate Matt Platkin to serve as the 62nd Attorney General of the State of New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “As I look toward the upcoming four years and the challenges that lay ahead, I know that as Attorney General, Matt will stand up for our New Jersey values and keep the office, and our state, moving forward. Matt will continue the strong record of the Attorney General’s Office’s during my first term and I look forward to working with him in this new role.”

“I am honored and humbled to serve as New Jersey’s next Attorney General,” said Matt Platkin, incoming Attorney General. “I commit to work tirelessly, alongside the 7,700 outstanding public servants who make up the Department of Law and Public Safety, to protect and defend the rights of all nine million people who call our state home. I thank Governor Murphy for the trust and confidence he has placed in me, and I am excited to get to work.”

Platkin was born and raised in New Jersey, growing up in both Florham Park and Morristown, and graduated from Madison High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, and his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. Platkin began his policy career at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., advising members of Congress on job growth and economic recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. Following graduation from law school, Platkin practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City. From May 2016 to November 2017, Platkin served as Policy Director for Murphy for Governor.

In January 2018, Platkin was named Chief Counsel to the Governor. As Chief Counsel, Platkin oversaw an office of over 20 attorneys that advised the Governor on all legal matters, including legislation, executive orders, and administrative regulations. Platkin also was responsible for coordinating with the Attorney General’s Office on civil matters, including affirmative litigations, and oversaw judicial and prosecutorial nominations.

As Chief Counsel, Platkin spearheaded a number of policy initiatives, including gun safety and the expansion of voting rights, and played a critical role in the negotiations of three approximately $40 billion annual state budgets. Additionally, Platkin played a critical role in guiding New Jersey through the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing the drafting of pandemic-related executive orders and workforce policy reforms for state government employees to maintain government services. He also contributed to the State’s successful defense of pandemic-related actions in dozens of litigations in state and federal court.

Platkin served as Special Counsel to U.S. Senator Cory Booker during the first impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. He is currently a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in the White Collar Criminal Defense and Business Litigation practice groups. He is admitted to the bar in New Jersey and New York. 

Platkin resides in Montclair with his wife Sophia and their son, Robert.

Governor Murphy Announces Matt Platkin to Serve as New Jersey Attorney General February 3, 2022
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

Good morning. 

One of the most important responsibilities of any Governor is choosing an individual to serve as New Jersey’s Attorney General. 

To be sure, the Attorney General is not the Governor’s Lawyer but the People’s Lawyer — an attorney entrusted to represent all New Jerseyans, our values, and our laws. 

During my first term, we were fortunate to be served in this capacity by Attorneys General Gurbir Grewal and Andrew Bruck.  

They stood firm for our values – particularly when the former federal administration sought to undermine them. 

They worked to get illegal guns off our streets and defended our groundbreaking gun-safety laws in court. They launched new policing practices to improve the relationships between law enforcement and the residents they serve. They took action to protect our immigrant communities. They took on polluters. They stood up for consumers. And so much more. 

I thank them both. They each have set tremendous legacies within the Office of the Attorney General. 

As I look toward the upcoming four years, and the challenges that lay ahead, I will once again look to the Attorney General to stand up for our New Jersey values and to keep the office, and our state, moving forward. 

To meet this challenge, it is my honor and pleasure to nominate Matt Platkin to serve as the 62nd Attorney General of the State of New Jersey. 

Matt grew up in Florham Park and Morristown and graduated from Madison High School. 

He currently resides in Montclair with his wife, Sophia, and their son, Robert, who are with us. We’re also joined today by Matt’s parents, Judy and Larry. 

Matt holds both his undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University, but I don’t hold his having absconded to the other coast against him. Importantly, he came back to New Jersey to engage in public service and give back to the state that gave him so much.  

I have known Matt, personally and professionally, for the last eight years. I have seen his intellect, his work ethic, his commitment to good governance, and his ethical sense of right and wrong.

As my first Chief Counsel, he was my primary advisor on all of our administration’s legal matters, and spearheaded many of our policy initiatives, including gun safety, voting rights, and the rights of those left at society’s margins.  

But I particularly think of the earliest days of the pandemic, as he ably led the Counsel’s Office in helping us confront the greatest public health crisis not only of this current century but the last 100 years. 

Every Attorney General needs strong legal skills, which Matt has in spades and has proven in his time as Chief Counsel, in private practice, and in the pro bono work he has undertaken.  

But every Attorney General also needs to lead with empathy. And Matt has that, too. That trait is written throughout many of the laws he helped craft and see passed as Chief Counsel. 

Under our state’s Constitution, unlike most of the Cabinet, the Attorney General is given a layer of independence. As I noted earlier, the Attorney General isn’t the Governor’s Lawyer, but the People’s Lawyer, entrusted with enforcing the laws of our State fairly and evenhandedly.

This independence is most crucial in matters which are criminal in nature and must, because of that, be absolutely free of politics. I know Matt has the backbone and the fortitude to uphold this sacred principle. 

As I noted in my Second Inaugural Address, just because one term ends and another begins doesn’t mean that the old challenges fade away. The same can be said for the Attorney General.  

I know Matt will continue the Attorney General’s Office’s strong record of taking on polluters, fraudsters, and other criminals.

But looking outward, our nation continues to stand at a crossroads … 

When it comes to fundamental questions about policing and our criminal justice system … 

When the right of states to enact and enforce commonsense gun safety laws is under attack … 

When voting rights are being restricted across the country … 

And when the very sense of the American Dream itself seems to be falling from the grasp of so many. 

In these issues, and many more, New Jersey will show the way forward. Not just through smart policies and strong laws, but an equally smart and strong defense of both. In this the Office of the Attorney General will stand tall. 

I think of the words of Robert F. Kennedy, who addressed the law school at the University of Georgia in his first formal speech after becoming United States Attorney General in 1961.  

Although we are now more than 60 years removed, his words still prove salient. 

And I quote him: “For on this generation of Americans falls the full burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say that all men are created free and equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.” 

We have made historic strides in making New Jersey the Opportunity State in so many areas across the past four years. And there is still much more to do.  

With Matt serving as our Attorney General, I know that New Jersey’s storied laws, which have opened doors of opportunity and knocked down barriers of injustice for so many, will be in good hands.

It is now my tremendous pleasure to present the next Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, Matt Platkin.